Government worker travel budget trends in 2015
Governments and other organizations spend $1,208 per employee each year on direct learning expenditures, says the Association for Talent Development’s latest “State of the Industry Report.” A chunk of that money pays for worker travel to training sites and educational trade shows.
The government market (federal) for travel and transportation services totaled $36.1 billion in FY14, says Charles River Research. The market will rebound to $39.4 billion by FY18, with a 5-year cumulative annual growth rate of 2.2 percent, say Charles River analysts. This market includes the travel and transportation costs of authorized government employees. Local and state governments also spend big on travel and transportation services for their employees.
The market growth mentioned above is mirrored in local/state travel budget growth, says one travel industry insider that GPN contacted. “For the last five to six years, local and state government travel was trending down. The budgets were cut, and governments were approving only necessary travel. Some state governments, municipalities and local authorities such as airport authorities would do trade missions overseas or they would send missions to market and do presentations to certain cities, and a lot of those were canceled.”
This insider told GPN that those trade missions and meetings were seen as potential revenue builders for the state or localities, rather than as expenses. “But since the budgets were cut, usually some of the first travel activities to go were trade shows, conferences, or trade missions.”
But the insider says things are looking up. “It appears the U.S. economy is doing a little better, and we are again seeing a return to trade missions and marketing conferences. That said, travel budgets are up a little bit in local and state governments.”
The insider adds that hotel room rates for government travelers have also risen over the last two to three years. Rooms that went for $120 several years ago are now fetching $150 or $160 at the same hotel.
In an exclusive survey of GPN and American City & County readers, nine out of 10 local and state government officials say they will have equal or bigger budgets in the 2nd half of 2015, compared to 2014.
On the government travel front, HotelPlanner, a provider of online services to the global market, has been awarded an exclusive contract with U.S. Communities for travel services and solutions. Through its automated group reservation system online, HotelPlanner provides services to thousands of customers. Kansas City, Mo., served as the lead public agency and awarded HotelPlanner the national contract after completing a competitive solicitation and evaluation process.
More than 55,000 government agencies use U.S. Communities contracts and suppliers to purchase products and services that provide good overall value. Under the new contract, HotelPlanner will offer special rates to local and state government agencies, school districts (K-12), higher education institutions, special districts and non-profit agencies eligible to use the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance. The contract will provide public agencies with access to the lowest available hotel pricing, savings on airline booking fees, and the ability to create custom travel sites at no additional cost, according to the company’s news release.
“By working closely together, HotelPlanner will provide to each agency custom travel solutions that will capture, monitor, and manage their overall travel spend in order to maximize their savings,” says Tim Hentschel, HotelPlanner.com CEO.
For more information on specialized or government programming, contact Melissa Le’ppin, vice president of HotelPlanner.com, at 866-205-1205 or via this E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For details on booking travel under the U.S. Communities contract, visit this site. HotelPlanner.com offers a mobile application for booking group hotel reservations.
Michael Keating is Senior Editor at Government Product News, an American City & County sister brand.